Friday 2 March 2007

Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch

The 2004-follow up to "Eleven Eleven" actually promised to be different from its successor. It features a string arrangement on the very first track called "Ode to Divorce", and like an Ode it sounds, like a ballad. The second track is a mean portrait of a "Poor Rich Boy" who seems to fit into the world just fine, just that he is unable to feel appropriate love for his mother and his girlfriend – he is empty inside. The drums sound like somebody is smashing the table with chopsticks.
"Carbon Monoxide" is a horrible portrait of a suicide, featuring guitar for the first time (the Velvet Underground kind). Such death creeps back in. The ending of "Flowers", which starts as a sad little song, slowly turns into a Russian folk song ("Marischka").
These sudden, unexpected twists into new genres continue: one of the most suprising songs of the record follows up to a small little dialogue with her brother, Bear (Regina, when does that song start?). "Your Honour" sounds like pure Garage. "Gargle with peroxide a steak for your eye / but I'm a pizzatarian so it's a frozen pizza pie / You tell me that you love me and you never do lie / and you fight for my honor but I just don't know why".
On "Ghosts of Corporate Future" she offers a heartbreakingly naïve concept to battle capitalism: tell the businessmen how to live life fully and unconventionally. "Well maybe you should just drink a lot less coffee, / And never ever watch the ten o'clock news, Maybe you should kiss someone nice, / Or lick a rock, / Or both."
"Chemo Limo" has the potential to be the best song on a record that has not a single song on it that isn't exceptional: it's the story of a mother that has cancer and decides to "go out in style" rather than fade away on chemo therapy. It's shockingly accurate, sad, and everything for which Spektor should be admired, capturing human emotions in detail, in their entire beauty and sadness.

No comments: